Although very savage, the Mongols were without doubt a very intelligent and civilized group of people who were brilliant in war, psychological warfare, and compassionate to other religions. The Mongols had extremely complicated battle plans that resulted in many victories. The writer of History of the Mongols explains, “Other columns of stronger men they dispatch far off to the right and the left … and in this way they surround them” (Doc. D). Compared to the other battle plans of the time period, this was considered very advanced. It was their winning strategy and demonstrated their intelligence. Also, the Mongols were masters at psychological warfare. When the Mongols were attacking the people of Nishapur, they were extremely brutal. A Mongol writer tells us, “that not even cats and dogs should be left alive” (Doc. E). It was a brutal thing to do, but brilliant. The Mongols understood that the most effective way to truly defeat someone was to break them down mentally. And if you did this well, often times you would not even have to raise your sword. Soon enough, the horrific stories of the Mongol invasions spread. Undoubtedly, this made cities easier to conquer. A city gripped by terror of a possible massacre, would most likely surrender instead of fighting back. But perhaps the way the Mongols were most civilized was how they viewed other religions. Mongke Khan reasons, “But just as God gave different fingers to the hand so has He given us different ways to men” (Doc M). Rarely has any other group of people expressed this kind of compassion to other beliefs. The Christians, supposedly a very “caring” and “civilized” religion, outlawed Gnostics and burned the books of Greco-Roman pagans. Perhaps at first glance the Mongols seem like a group of uncivilized nomadic horsemen. But dig a little deeper and you will discover that they are in fact very intelligent and civilized.
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